Athletic Director Bill Moos made the decision Saturday to move Nebraska football in a different direction. There are a lot of things impacted by the decision that need to be discussed. For my purposes, let’s look at the impact of today on the 2018 recruiting class.
When thinking about the impact Mike Riley’s dismissal has on the 2018 recruiting class, you have to start with the players who are not in the class who likely would have been if not for the weeks of speculation about Riley’s job following the poor performance on the field and his former boss’ firing.
Nebraska hosted 17 4-star prospects this season and two 5-stars so they were clearly doing something right on the recruiting trail even amidst constant speculation. Players like 4-star wide receiver Isaah Crocker, 4-star wide receiver Tommy Bush and 4-star defensive back Christian Tutt would have likely been in the 2018 class long before the end of the regular season if the staff was returning intact. Other players that Nebraska were in fantastic position to land included 4-star athlete Bryan Addison, 4-star wide receiver Kobe Smith and 3-star defensive back Dallas Craddieth. Almost all of those propects are expected to land elsewhere now.
Typically when there is real buzz around a coach being fired, as there was with Nebraska, the current recruiting class falls apart. Currently, I would not describe the 2018 class as falling apart but it’s in a bad place. On one hand, Nebraska has only suffered a pair of decommits in 4-star defensive back Brendan Radley-Hiles and 4-star defensive back Chase Williams. Two players leaving the class will not break it but it’s a small class that is down to nine members. Also, defensive back and wide receiver are the two biggest positions of need for the 2018 class, so losing those players hurts a little more.
The majority of the class has taken a wait-and-see approach when it comes to leaving the class formally. However, that doesn’t mean that prospects have been unaware of what’s happening. 4-star wide receiver Joshua Moore has taken an official visit to Alabama and has one planned to Florida State. Four-star defensive back Mario Goodrich has taken an unofficial to Oklahoma State, 4-star wide receiver Cameron Brown took an official to Ohio State and 3-star defensive end Tate WIldeman took an official visit to Washington State and has one scheduled to Colorado State.
Moos must act quickly in finalizing a deal with a new head coach for many reasons but recruiting should be towards the top of the list. The sooner a new coach is named, the sooner the assistants that worked under Riley will know their fates at Nebraska, if any of them hope to stay at Nebraska. They are all technically fired since their contracts were tied to Riley's according to Bill Moos on Saturday but as he said.
"I hire head coaches and head coaches hire their assistants and I would give the new coach every bit of flexibility to create his staff however he wants. I think we’ve got some talented coaches here and I think we’ve got coaches that think very highly of Nebraska and feel we can recruit here."
Once recruits know which assistants will be retained on the staff, you’ll start to see more decisions made by them to stay in the class or go.
Greg is the Recruiting Analyst for Hail Varsity and has covered Husker athletics since 2013. He has always had a passion for sports while growing up in the Chicago area. As he got older and had to hang up his cleats and sneakers, he realized his passion for sports went beyond just watching and attending games. He has covered many events from the Rose Bowl to championship boxing matches. If he’s not talking sports, he’s hovering over his grill. He is married to an amazing woman, Kim, and they have a dog that barks when Greg yells at the TV during games.